A Strategic Approach to e-Health Interoperability Using e-Government Frameworks

A Strategic Approach to e-Health Interoperability Using e-Government Frameworks

Thanos Papadopoulos, Spyros Angelopoulos, Fotis Kitsios
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2770-3.ch039
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E-government projects have a breadth of impact that extends far beyond their respective context. However, current e-Government methodologies and models used are only tailored to specific requirements. Despite the use of interoperability in e-government, there has been a paucity of literature on adapting e-government frameworks in the healthcare context and in e-health in particular. Aiming to fill this gap, this chapter justifies why interoperability frameworks currently used in e-government may be useful in e-health. Therefore, this study attempts to address the issues faced by surveying the models consisting of effective practices in e-Government IT integration management, as well as IT support. The overall aim of this chapter is to conduct a critical analysis of well-established e-Government models and frameworks. Understanding e-Government integration project management will ultimately help in the development of an effective practice model, which will improve e-Government implementation.
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Interoperability Frameworks

Interoperability is “the ability to exchange information and mutually to use the information which has been exchanged” (CEC, 1991). An interoperability framework aims at referencing the basic technical specifications that all agencies relevant to the e-government strategy implementation should adopt. This interoperability framework should enable, at least, the interoperability between IS from different agencies in order to provide services to citizens and businesses in an integrated way.

A Government Interoperability Framework (GIF) is one way to achieve e-Government interoperability. A GIF is a set of standards and guidelines that a government uses to specify the preferred way that its agencies, citizens and partners interact with each other. As noted by Guijarro (2007), a GIF includes: “the basic technical specifications that all agencies relevant to the e-Government strategy implementation should adopt.” A GIF normally includes:

  • Context

  • Implementation and compliance regimes

  • Technical content

  • Process documentation.

Principles indicate the priorities of government in terms of ICT development. These principles guide the development of the GIF and become the criteria for choosing standards. Many of the GIFs recognized seven similar key principles as described below:

  • Interoperability

  • Market support

  • Security

  • Scalability

  • Reusability

  • Openness

  • Privacy

According to Guijarro (2009) interoperability frameworks in Europe have shown up “as a key tool for interoperability in the deployment of e-Government services”, both at national as well as European level. They are initially focused on technical interoperability, but recently inclusion of semantic in the interoperability frameworks started.

The main issue of an interoperability framework is the integration of a wide variety of legacy software applications. This has always created a costly and time-consuming IT challenge and has led the Business Integration to focus on the concepts of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) (Channabasavaiah, Holley, & Tuggle, 2004) as well as Event Driven Architecture (Sadtler, Crabtree, Cotignola, & Michel, 2004). These two models enable process level integration allowing the automatic communication among sub-components of heterogeneous systems, rather than a simple data transfer between different systems.

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